Saturday, March 14, 2015

Interview with ACCA Malaysia + extra tips for self studying

Haven't blogged in a while now. I've been working for almost 6 months now. Work has been hectic and I'm trying to improve everyday although I admit I slack just as much :(

I've taken up responsibilities voluntarily (no pay that is) because I am on a race to build up my skills and knowlegde and just absorb everything thrown at me like a sponge. Current read: Rich dad, Poor dad.

So some of you may know that ACCA Malaysia interviewed me about 2 months back on how I self-studied my ACCA exams without any tuition help, which got in the newspaper. But ya'know, who reads the newspapers nowadays.

Below is the article:



What would you advise if someone say ACCA is impossible to pass?
Some people don’t have the confidence to pass their ACCA exams because of the rumours they heard. They think ACCA is too difficult to pass and they worry about the risk of not being able to get the certificate. But the ACCA exams are not impossible at all.

The percentage of Malaysians passing the ACCA exams is higher than other countries. People should not be too harsh on themselves. Just take it easy and remember that the ACCA Qualification is a world class certificate that will improve your credibility.

Why self-study?
I chose to self-study my ACCA Qualification in order to save money and also because I wanted to have the time to do the activities I love. It was my parents who encouraged me to self-study. I believed in myself, and so did they. Of course, studying without tuition help means that I also have to be disciplined in my studies.

I decided not to go down the degree route because, with a degree, I might need four years in the university and at least another two years to get my ACCA done. I took up ACCA immediately after STPM and decided to self-study so I can focus on all 14 papers, and get professionally qualified within a shorter time.

Photo courtesy of MGIMPhoto courtesy of MGIM
It wasn’t all rainbows for you, though, was it?
Of course not. I failed one paper, which I subsequently passed in the next sitting. It was the P4 (Advanced Financial Management) paper. The most trying time was after finding out I failed that paper. Being my first fail, the effect was more on my psychology. 

But I coped by focusing on what went wrong, reviewed the answers and dedicated more time and effort to studying that paper again. Of course, having a positive mindset, the support of my family and telling myself that I only had 2 more papers left until completion (at that time), helped too.

What kept you motivated?
I always believe that if you truly want something and keep looking for ways to achieve it, there will come a day when you will find the treasure you’ve been looking for.

What study/revision techniques did you use?
I love using colours. I colour-code my notes a lot using different coloured highlighters and pens for that purpose. For papers that deal a lot with models and theory, I do mind-mapping. 

Because I study alone, I never had a study group. But I find that I study best alone at my own pace, without distractions. A week or two before the exam, I make sure I set aside at least 4 hours a day to revise. I also write down salient points on placards; I find that helps a lot too, not least for the psychologically comfort it offers.

How did you get your resources to study?
Usually, I’d download the information and past year questions from the internet. Everything can be found online now. I do buy some accounting books too. The challenge for me was to be self-disciplined in order to catch up. Also, unlike those who attend tuition classes, I had to make sure the information I get is accurate and helps me to score well in the exam.

I make it a point to read the advices of those who did self-study like me in ACCA. It is definitely a motivation for me to keep going. Their success stories gave me the confidence on what I was doing so I’d know I was on the right track.

You represented Malaysia in the Chess Olympiad in 2010 and 2012; how did it feel to be picked for the team, and what was the experience like?
It was an honour to represent Malaysia in the Chess Olympiad in both years.  I enjoyed meeting legendary chess players, players from other countries and touring said countries. I do hope I have the chance to represent my country again.

[Side note: Mi Yen was a national champion for the National Schools Sports Council (MSSM) chess tournament for Girls U-15 and U-18 in 2006 and 2008 respectively. In 2010, she also came in first place in the National Close Championship, and placed fourth in the Malaysia Masters (Women) 2013 chess championship.]

How’s working life treating you?
It’s good being able to work. I can now financially support myself. I now spend my weekends traveling, and trying out the food I love. Things are getting better these days.

I’m taking my job day by day, learning as much as I can and seeing how high I can go up the corporate ladder. Being ACCA qualified has given me the opportunity to learn so much about business and the finance industry, which is much more than the numbers. I am learning about taxation, organisational restructuring and management, business plans, just to name a few. It’s definitely not boring!

Advise for your peers.
Don’t be afraid, believe in yourself. Everything is possible so just go for it!

_______________________________________________________________________

So a few days ago, they posted it on their official facebook page and people started asking how I did it.

In all honesty, I don't really know how to answer them because I've said what I've said in the article and I don't know what else to add.

Lemme think what else to add...

I mean, I think, or would like to think, I am creative.

So I try to make studying as "artsy" as possible. I use all sorts of nonsensical ways to study; acronyms I devise myself, using as many colors as possible and  drawing shapes only I can relate to.

I don't have a specific timetable I stick to (believe me, I tried, but no.) but I make sure that I have enough time to cramp in whatever I have to study.

I am also quite lazy sometimes, so I try to devise shortcuts and learn as "smartly" as possible. Erm... don't know whether I should put that in but sometimes the weather too hot, too cold, no money, not enough highlighters, no more maggi mee in the cupboard, you can't help being lazy.

As people say, study smart.

But I have this to say: If you've decided to go for it, don't have any doubts, don't be lazy (yah, don't be like me) and be responsible. Go full a*s or no a*s at all. Then ANYONE can do it with far superior results than me.

Look as me giving advice and what not... Who would have thought.

Anyway, I'm truly blessed to be given this chance and all this happened by pure luck. Had I not gone to that particular job fair that day, had I not randomly chatted with that particular ACCA lady, none of this would have happened. So thank you!

Official link to the article here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/acca-malaysia/acca-spotlight-on-fong-mi-yen/926010024116270?id=139284766122137

Toodles! xx

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